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Does your VC need operating experience?

I am often asked if operating experience in a big company or startup is a requirement to become a great venture capitalist. 

The logic is how can you help startups if you have never had the job yourself.

Even though I’ve worked in startups and a few big companies for 15 years before becoming a VC, i don’t buy that argument. The proof is in the pudding. There are too many great VCs that dont have operating experience.

So then is operating experience a negative? Nope, that’s not true either. Too many great VCs with operating experience.

The short answer is that you either need senior operating experience or a sigificant amount of experience in a vc firm. You need a lot of other things as well but i believe that is the requirement.